Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that resists heat. It is in fact a name given to a series of three compounds. It should be noted that the body stores very little of this vitamin.
Principal natural sources of Vitamin B6
Animal sources: It is found principally in meat, poultry, offal (liver, kidneys etc.), fish (salmon, tuna, sardines and herring), egg yolks and dairy products.
Plant sources: It is found in smaller quantities in cereals (rice, flax, maize, bread and whole cereals), leguminous vegetables, cereal germ (especially wheatgerm), dry fruit (nuts), arachis, cacao, certain fruits (bananas and oranges) and certain vegetables (cabbage, spinach, tomatoes and potatoes), soya, pollen and brewer's yeast.
Properties of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is essential for regulating hormones. It contributes to stable nervous and immune system function, and helps reduce fatigue. It also influences the body's production of red cells, and helps keep skin healthy while stimulating synthesis of keratin (the principal component of hair).
Recommended Daily Intake
Daily pyridoxine requirements are proportional to protein consumption. Vegetarians tend to consume less protein than non-vegetarians and may therefore have lower Vitamin B6 requirements. The recommended intake is thus estimated at 2 mg daily for an adult with a protein-rich diet, while the average recommended intake is 1.4 mg daily.
The body's Vitamin B6 requirements are higher for the following:
- Sporting persons, especially those on a protein-rich diet.
- Pregnant and nursing women.
- Elderly people.